I am the newest teacher at Sunrise Residential Treatment Center and when I first made the choice to go into teaching, I knew I wanted to work in some type of alternative education.  I wanted to help the kids who struggled.  I wanted to make a Difference – yes with the capital “D”.  I had watched too many movies and I was full of ideals.  I wanted to teach them.  I was naïve in that I didn’t think about how much I would learn in the process.  Needless to say, I had – and still have – a lot to learn.  The first lesson, what is a residential treatment center?

What is a Residential Treatment Center

My first lesson was, what is a Residential Treatment Center (RTC).  An RTC is a place that, first and foremost, helps families during tough times.  It is a place full of love and caring people. It is a place of refuge and safety.  It is a place where we are trusted with a family’s most prized possession: their children.  It is a place where families heal.

Whom We Serve in Residential Treatment

Another lesson is about whom we serve.  We serve people who are in need.  We serve the family who has lost loved ones to death.  We serve the family who has been hit with depression and anxiety so crippling it seemed there could be no recovery.  We serve the family who has been dealt the hand of addiction, which has driven a knife into the very heart of that family.  We serve people who are desperate for help and are in crisis.  We are here for you, and your families.  There is a way out; I have seen it.

Why I Work at Sunrise Residential Treatment Center

A final lesson I learned is why I am here, which is probably the most important lesson for me.  I am here because I want to see your child succeed.  I am here because I love to see how your child changes from who they are when they first arrive – either timid and turned inward, or angry and defiant – to who they are when they leave: beautiful, confident, capable young women.  I am here because I want to learn as much, or more, from them than they can learn from me.   But most of all, I am here because I love your child. I want to help them.

These are just a few lessons I have learned so far in my first year here.  I am continually learning from your girls.  I am continually learning how to help them, and doing my best for them.  I am continually surprised by the inner strength and determination I see in them in spite of all of their challenges, even if they don’t see it for themselves. I am grateful for the opportunity to see them grow and change. Most of all, I am so excited I get to be a part of lives, to learn from them, and for them to be a part of my life.